I picked this up immediately when I saw it at the library, for my son. It starts out with a commuter train, which goes from the small towns to the big...moreI picked this up immediately when I saw it at the library, for my son. It starts out with a commuter train, which goes from the small towns to the big city, then switches to a passenger train that goes longer distances. From there, we see a freight train with an incredibly long line of attached freight cars containing things like steel, oil and wheat. Next is the Overnight Train with its sleeping berths and tiny bathrooms, and finally the High Speed Train. I loved the illustrations of all the different kinds of trains, and the little details like the animals that were passed by the train at the bottom of the pages. My only gripe was that the book was way too long for my son, as a read-aloud book. Recommended for ages 4-8, 3 ½ stars. (less)
This book was recommended by my friend Rebecca because she thought I would like it, as my husband is English, I love traveling around the UK, and I am...moreThis book was recommended by my friend Rebecca because she thought I would like it, as my husband is English, I love traveling around the UK, and I am a bit of an Anglophile. I was lucky to find it via interlibrary loan from Albuquerque. It’s an interesting book because it reads like a diary, but includes drawings, watercolor illustrations, and photographs taken by author.
The book is about the author meeting and falling in love with the man who would eventually become her husband in 1987, despite the fact that she had given up on love after a messy divorce. They visited England in 2004 together and loved it, but had always wanted to go back and explore the country more in-depth. So for their 25th Anniversary, they take the trans-Atlantic ocean liner Queen Mary 2 back to England. It is a very luxurious ship and reminds me, as the author also notes, of movies from the 1930s and 40s, when everyone traveled by boat across the Atlantic.
They landed in Southampton, England and then had to tackle driving on the other side of the road and car (with no prior experience), which was rather hilarious to read. I’ve lived in Scotland, so I know how confusing the signs and roads can be at times, as a passenger or pedestrian. Susan and her husband have roughly two months to visit the country, and start driving and visiting the South (called the Garden of England), and heads up towards the Lake District in NW England, where she finally gets to visit Hill Top (the farm of Beatrix Potter, who is someone the author really admires). From there, they go to York and then the Cotswolds. They visit small villages, a lot of National Trust historic properties, and a Cathedral. They also get to stay in a lot of gorgeous cottages. The book also features recipes of food that they ate along the way, such as Roasted Shallots, Pimm’s Cup, and Orange-Lavender Polenta Cake. (less)
I’ve been following the author’s food and travel blog for awhile now, after discovering his dessert cookbooks (which are amazing by the way). So when...moreI’ve been following the author’s food and travel blog for awhile now, after discovering his dessert cookbooks (which are amazing by the way). So when I found out Netgalley had a copy of his latest cookbook, I had to check it out. He starts off the cookbook by discussing his reasons for moving to Paris, adjusting to life there, and dealing with a much smaller kitchen. He also discusses frequently used ingredients in the recipes and how they differ in America and France. He is so thorough with the introductory sections that he reminds me of Mark Bittman.
I liked all the background stories about the food, which include how the author first discovered the food, and how he prepares it at home. I also liked when he went into details about the differences between French and American people. The recipes start with a back story description and why the recipe is included, and then actual recipe itself (titled in French and English). This is probably just because it is an advanced reader’s copy, but sometime the ingredients are first before the description, which can get kind of confusing as to where one recipe starts and the others end. The recipes are broken down into appetizers and salads, entrees (first course), main courses, desserts and basic pantry items like stock, vinaigrette and flavored oil. My favorite recipes included anything with Buckwheat, Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil, Leeks with Mustard-Bacon Vinaigrette, Scalloped Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Roasted Garlic (which sounds way more decadent when you look at the ingredients than just the description), the Chocolate Terrine with Fresh Ginger Crème Anglaise, and the Spiced Speculoos (the Biscoff Spread) Flan Crème Caramel. My only gripe is that there wasn’t a photo of every recipe, which helps when you’re making semi-complicated French food (especially the desserts) or food you’re not familiar with making. 4 stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. (less)
I skimmed this travel guide, focusing on the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. It is obvious though while the author was very good at describing all th...moreI skimmed this travel guide, focusing on the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. It is obvious though while the author was very good at describing all the fun things you can do with children, particularly those 10+, there was not much description of events/activities for much younger children or those on a budget. 2 stars. (less)
This book was a very good introduction to Las Vegas and the free or rather cheap entertainment and services you can get there. The book gave me a lot...moreThis book was a very good introduction to Las Vegas and the free or rather cheap entertainment and services you can get there. The book gave me a lot of ideas for places to go that I had not thought about, including things to do with kids. It makes a trip to Vegas for the weekend seem possible, assuming you don't gamble all your money away. 3 stars. (less)
I picked up this up from the travel/foreign history section on a whim, after loving my last choice from there ("In My Father's Country" by Saima Wahab...moreI picked up this up from the travel/foreign history section on a whim, after loving my last choice from there ("In My Father's Country" by Saima Wahab). The book turned out to be a personal family memoir, with snippets of Chinese language, culture and history, as well as the family adventures traveling through China and living there for 7 years (as of 2012 when the book was published). The title comes from the actual Chinese character for Home, which literally translates as "a roof over a pig". The Arrington family, with three children under the age of six, decided to move to China after adopting a girl from China four years before, to show her more about her culture. They move to the Shandong province and the city of Ta'in. At first they are only known as the "foreigners," but after spending four years there and building relationships, they are considered part of the community. They did move eventually to Beijing as the children got older and their apartment was too small.
Each chapter discusses a particular Chinese character, usually something about its etymology from traditional to modern characters, and then how it applied to a particular episode in Arrington's life. An example would be the chapter on language, which means "the words of myself," in which the author discusses how her adopted Chinese daughter Grace did better in learning the Chinese language, despite the fact that she had never really been previously interested in words or books. I liked when Arrington told her students that "learning a foreign language is not academic, it is social." I definitely believe this to be true, especially in relation to taking Italian as a foreign language at university. I found it much easier to grasp the concept of Italian after having to use it in everyday life and conversation versus trying to read it in a book and I've found the same to be the case with internationals that I helped in conversational English. Highly recommended, 5 stars. (less)
This was a well-done cookbook and informational guide on street food and where you can find it. I liked that the cuisine was all over the globe and no...moreThis was a well-done cookbook and informational guide on street food and where you can find it. I liked that the cuisine was all over the globe and not just in one particular area. Each recipe starts with the title of the dish and what country it is from, what exactly is in the dish, what it tastes like, the origin, and a good place to find it in the country or origin (and most importantly, how much it costs to buy it). I was pleased to find a lot that I knew of, as well as a good many that I had never heard about. I, in particular, liked the recipes for Bo Bia (rice-paper Vietnamese rolls), Gozleme (Turkish stuffed flatbreads), Hotteok (South Korean dessert pancakes) and Jalebis' (Indian sweets). 4 stars. (less)
I really enjoyed this travel food diary by the author and culinary tour director, Tom Vandenberghe. He really gives you a behind-the-scenes view on st...moreI really enjoyed this travel food diary by the author and culinary tour director, Tom Vandenberghe. He really gives you a behind-the-scenes view on street food in Hanoi, the Northern Vietnamese city most American recognize. I like that the book featured not just traditional favorites like Bun, various fried dumplings/rolls and Pho, but also a lot of recipes I had never heard of before, like the Vietnamese version of Beef Bourguignon called Bo Xot Vang. Learning how to make Bun cha (Grilled Pork with Rice Noodles), something I always get when I go to my local Vietnamese restaurant, is going to be awesome! 5 stars. (less)
I enjoyed this becoming a chef memoir of the author and her recipes from her gorgeous little restaurant and B&B in northwest Skye. I had been to t...moreI enjoyed this becoming a chef memoir of the author and her recipes from her gorgeous little restaurant and B&B in northwest Skye. I had been to this western island of Scotland when I was studying there in 2004, although I only went to the SW portion (It is very ruggedly beautiful). The recipes and photos of the food were gorgeous, though a good number of the ingredients would only be accessible if you lived in the UK or could afford to buy them online. Neverless, it was an enjoyable read about a foray into the restaurant business from two amateurs that turned into an enormous success. 3 stars. (less)
Seeing as I have a couple Portuguese friends and have never really eaten the food (aside from Portuguese inspired-Brazilian food from another friend),...moreSeeing as I have a couple Portuguese friends and have never really eaten the food (aside from Portuguese inspired-Brazilian food from another friend), I figured this book would be a good place to start. And it was, giving a primer for areas of Portugal and its islands as well as the food and wine from each particular area. The author was raised in a Portuguese "colony" in America and is now a citizen of Portugal. I was also impressed that this book won the Julia Child Award as well as good reviews from many top news and food websites/magazines. His recipes seemed to be good interesting modern adaptations of classic Portuguese cooking. My only downside with the cookbook is that a lot of the recipes feature sausages, which I currently cannot eat (though might come back and check out those recipes later when I can) and cod, which I don't like to eat . That aside, there are delicious dishes such as his two versions of Gazpacho, Cilantro Bread Soup with Poached Eggs and Braised Beef Shanks with Warm Spices that I would love to try out. (less)
This is a fantastic Indian fusion cookbook with recipes that I can actually see myself preparing. Great photos too. I'll just have to take an investme...moreThis is a fantastic Indian fusion cookbook with recipes that I can actually see myself preparing. Great photos too. I'll just have to take an investment out in Indian spices at my local Indian grocery store and I'll be set. I also enjoyed the personal touches of the book, which included the author's personal history and food travel experiences. (less)